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Get Organized Before You Shop for a Home

by Masha Halpern

The process of buying a home has gotten more complicated in recent years. To make sure everything goes smoothly, you’ll want to get organized before you even begin to look for a house. Once you’ve taken care of these things, you’ll be ready to shop for the home of your dreams.

Check Your Credit Score. Examine and fix any blemishes on your credit score, before you apply for a loan. Also, avoid taking on any new debt at this time. This includes buying a new car or other large item on credit.

Look at Your Finances. Take an honest look at your budget and figure out how much home you can afford. There are many online calculators available to help you with this. In general, most loan programs require that your mortgage payment be no more than 28% to 31% of your gross monthly income.

Beef up Your Savings. You should have enough cash saved up to cover your down payment and closing costs. Depending on your mortgage, you’ll need anywhere from 3.5% to 20% down, plus money available for closing.

In addition, mortgage lenders like to see borrowers with a healthy savings account. This shows that you have enough money to pay for your closing costs and any incidental expenses, as well as enough to live on once you move in. Savers aren’t likely to be living paycheck to paycheck, and are good candidates for a loan.

Apply for Your Mortgage. Get preapproved for a loan before you even start to look at homes. Applying for a loan first gives you a definitive answer on how much mortgage you can afford, and ensures you have financing ready when you find your dream home.

Refine Your Shopping List. Finally, think about the features you really want in a house. You’ll probably live in this house for several years, and you want it to serve your needs the entire time. After all, if you change your mind in a few years, you may not be able to sell this house quickly.

Shopping for a home is exciting. Take the time to organize and prepare before you look at properties, so you can be ready to make an offer when you do find a home that you love.

 

Masha Halpern, Broker, CLHMS, GRI
Keller Williams Realty
Masha@MashaHalpern.com
919-414-0337  

Get your latest Home Value
Receive Your Personalized Listing Alerts

Masha Halpern and The Smart Move Team is your ultimate real estate resource for Chapel Hill, Durham, Carrboro and surrounding areas. Visit my website for detailed information regarding today’s real estate markets.

Masha is a certified member of The Luxury Home Marketing Institute, participates in its annual Leaders in Luxury Conference, and works with The Institute’s thousands of members worldwide to share information about current listings.

Masha is also a certified member of Keller Williams Luxury International and is also a member of Cyber Stars International – Top Realtors Using Technology – a group dedicated to taking the best and latest technological advances and applying them to real estate advertising and marketing for her clients in all price points. Masha Halpern can be contacted for a private consultation by calling 919-414-0337 or by visiting www.TheSmartMoveTeam.com.

Photo courtesy Kristja, Stock.XCHNG

Easy Ways to Go Green in Your Home

by Masha Halpern

The term “green living” means a lot of things. Mainly, though, it’s about living in a way that’s friendly to the environment. When you think about a green home, you may think of solar panels, wind turbines, grey water recycling, and other expensive projects. An environmentally friendly home doesn’t have to be expensive, however.

Homeowners that want to go green on a budget have many different ways to do it. With some time and a little work, you can go green in your home without spending a lot of cash.

You can get a big bang for your buck from basic maintenance projects around your home that make your home more energy efficient. Using less energy to heat and cool puts less strain on natural resources. Some of these projects include weather-stripping your doors and windows, plugging leaks in your walls and foundation, switching to low flow shower heads, and fixing dripping faucets. Each of these tasks only takes a few minutes and costs very little. However, they can significantly cut your energy use.

Going green is not just about energy savings, however. It’s also about using products that have less impact on the environment. Green up your shopping by buying products that use less packaging, buying local so that less fuel is used to transport items, and switching to household cleaners and detergents that are environmentally friendly. You may end up buying fewer things overall, which can save you money as well.

There are many other simple things you can do green up your home, including:

  • Install a programmable thermostat, and set it so your air conditioning doesn’t run when you are not home.
  • Switch to energy-efficient LED light bulbs.
  • Plant landscaping in your yard that will shade your house in the summer but allow sunlight through in the winter.
  • Replace old appliances with a newer, energy-efficient models. This is an investment, but can save you money in the long run on your utilities, which will help offset the cost.

You don’t have to shell out thousands of dollars for new solar panels on your roof or a wind turbine to go green. There are many other ways you can green up your home and routine. Remember, every time you make an environmentally friendly choice, no matter how small, you make a difference.

Masha Halpern, Broker, CLHMS, GRI
Keller Williams Realty
Masha@MashaHalpern.com
919-414-0337  

Get your latest Home Value
Receive Your Personalized Listing Alerts

Masha Halpern and The Smart Move Team is your ultimate real estate resource for Chapel Hill, Durham, Carrboro and surrounding areas. Visit my website for detailed information regarding today’s real estate markets.

Masha is a certified member of The Luxury Home Marketing Institute, participates in its annual Leaders in Luxury Conference, and works with The Institute’s thousands of members worldwide to share information about current listings.

Masha is also a certified member of Keller Williams Luxury International and is also a member of Cyber Stars International – Top Realtors Using Technology – a group dedicated to taking the best and latest technological advances and applying them to real estate advertising and marketing for her clients in all price points. Masha Halpern can be contacted for a private consultation by calling 919-414-0337 or by visiting www.TheSmartMoveTeam.com.

  Photo courtesy B Cleary, Stock.XCHNG.

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Masha Halpern - Boutique Real Estate
Keller Williams Realty
101 Cosgrove Avenue, Suite 200
Chapel Hill NC 27514
Direct 919-951-1780
Toll Free 877-478-4669
Fax: 919-928-9030




Masha Halpern of Keller Williams Realty provides real estate services in the Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Durham, North Carolina area including real estate services for buyer, sellers and those relocating to the surrounding areas of Apex, Bahama,Cary, Efland, Hillsborough, Holly Springs, Mebane, Raleigh, and Wake Forest. Search for homes in Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Durham or the surrounding communities.  Request a market analysis for your North Carolina property.  I list and sell residential real estate, investment property, vacant land, lots for sale in Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Durham, North Carolina area.

Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Durham, North Carolina real estate and homes for sale in North Carolina - Masha Halpern & The Smart Move Team

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